Having a digital business can be great. You can save on brick-and-mortar rent and other utility costs. But at the same time, it can be a challenge: You don’t have a physical presence that potential customers can come to recognize (and serve as free advertising). And while there would be other competing stores in the area, nothing compares to the competition you’ll face on the World Wide Web.
But there are things you can do to improve your eCommerce site’s traffic and increase your revenue. Success online is all about marketing, and not just ads. Sure, ads are important (and listed here), but more importantly, you want to focus on marketing tactics that make your customers have the best experience with your eCommerce website as possible. An ad may get a first time customer through the door, but a positive brand perception will keep them coming back.
Like with most marketing, you have to spend a little money to make more. The fastest way to get customers to pay attention to you is to do a little investing. Here are four investments you can make in your site that will pay for themselves in brand reputation.
Website Quickly Loads
People are impatient. If your website doesn’t load within three seconds, you are more likely to experience potential customers dropping off from the site because they don’t want to wait. So, you’ll want to use a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to check it. PageSpeed Insights will analyze your website and provide data about the speed and optimization of both the mobile and desktop versions of your website. If there is anything slowing down your site or the tool finds ways to better optimize your website, it will let you know.
One major culprit in slow load times for eCommerce sites is photo size. While you want to ensure that you have high photos for each product, you need to make sure that the files are not so big that they drag down your site speed. For more information and recommendations, check out this reference article from Google.
A quick way to make these improvements is to hire an SEO services company because page speed is an important element in page ranks, especially mobile. Some web developers also specialize in speed improvements.
In addition to loading quickly, a website also needs to be easily navigable. Your navigation should be concise and intuitive, breaking up products into known categories that a customer can use to quickly find items of interest.
For instance, if you sell items for the home such as decorations, wall art, and rugs, you can categorize them by each room in the house (Living Room, Kitchen, Bedroom, etc.) or by type (Home Décor, Rugs, Curtains). If you sell a variety of items from home to clothing to outdoor goods, you will want to categorize them as such (Home, Clothing, Outdoor Goods) and then subcategorize them (Home might have Kitchen, with subcategories such as Utensils, Pots & Pans, Décor, Towels, and so on).
By having a website that is easy to navigate, you’ll create a better user experience for customers. They will be able to easily find what they want and, based on a positive shopping experience, will be more willing to return again.
If your site is getting too large to use menus easily, you’ll need to include an internal search engine. It is the easiest way for a customer to find the item they want. Hiring a developer to create one, or to tag current products using an existing solution, is another investment opportunity to improve your site.
Optimize for Search Engines
Unless a customer knows to come to you directly many of your customers will find you through a web search. That’s why it is crucial to improving your search engine optimization. Hundreds of competitors will be vying for that same customer—so why give them an opportunity to go anywhere else?
Ideally, you’ll want to rank first for a search. Know that basic, one-word keywords like “shoes” and “cars” are extremely hard to rank for. Focus on long-tail keywords or keywords with more descriptive terms. An example is “blue Nike athletic shoes” or “used Ford Fiesta [location].” These search queries are more focused, which means you’ll be attracting customers who are closer to the end of the purchasing funnel.
If SEO isn’t something you understand, you can always hire an SEO services company, which may also provide services such as PPC management and website optimization. This will let you focus on your core business while they handle the marketing.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) refers to the paid advertisements often used by search engines and social media sites. For example, if you type “dog food” into Google’s search bar, the first ad you will see is “Save 20% Off Dog Food at Chewy | Dog Food 20% Off & Ships Free.” Each time a customer clicks on the ad, the ad sponsor pays a set fee (hence pay-per-click). It is a powerful advertising method.
Consider investing some money into hiring a PPC management company. They have the experience to develop a PPC campaign that not only works for you but also uses your budget as effectively as possible. It’s easier than you might think to lose a lot of money with PPC with little return, so unless you really want to do your research and practice, leave this to the professionals.
It’s Time to Put it Into Practice
These are just four marketing investments that you can and should implement in your eCommerce website to improve traffic and conversions. Sometimes you have to spend a little money to get to the next level of your business. These are all great places to put some revenue.